Boating is especially popular now as many people are taking advantage of living in a state with more than 15,000 lakes. This means more boat traffic, resulting in crowded waterways. That’s why it’s extremely critical that boat operators practice safe boating. Here are some boating safety guidelines from a Wisconsin accident lawyer, along with a few considerations and warnings.
Have the Right Equipment Onboard
Before venturing out in the water, ensure that your boat contains all the necessary equipment. Essentials include a first-aid kit, life jackets, flotation devices and other types of emergency supplies.
Be sure your boat has an anchor and boat lights that function properly. You’ll need at least one B-1 fire extinguisher. If your boat is more than 26 feet long, have at least two B-1 fire extinguishers.
Don’t Speed on Wisconsin Lakes
One of the primary causes of boating accidents is speeding. Therefore, always stay within the speed limits, going at a safe speed. This is especially crucial when traveling in current water and when weather conditions are challenging.
Be Watchful at All Times
Another significant reason for boating mishaps is an operator not staying vigilant. When you drive a boat, you’re responsible for constantly monitoring your vessel at all times. This entails keeping alert for unsafe objects or other conditions. You need to be aware of unpredictable weather, recognizing the early signs that could be a threat to safety.
Make Passengers Wear Life Jackets and Enforce Seating Rules
Ensure that everyone onboard wears life jackets, including you. Forbid passengers from sitting in areas not made for seating, such as the gunwale, motor cover and other unsafe places. What’s more, don’t allow passengers to walk or stand when your vessel is underway or if your boat is small and lacks stability.
Never Operate a Boat When Using Alcohol or Drugs
Just as driving under the influence, known as DUI, operating a boat under the influence can result in legal penalties, ranging from being fined to losing your boating license. In fact, people have even been imprisoned when a death is involved. In Wisconsin, the law states that anyone who operates a boat with a blood alcohol concentration or 0.08 or more is breaking the law.
Other Considerations and Warnings
- Another safety rule is to not overload your boat to prevent it from capsizing. Besides making sure that your boat isn’t overloaded, check to ensure that the weight of the boat gear and passengers is balanced at all times.
- It’s extremely important that you know what’s legal and illegal, regarding Wisconsin boating For example, it’s illegal to chase or disturb wildlife when operating a boat.
- Consider that conditions in water can quickly change. Although it’s impossible to anticipate some changing situations, you need to know what to do when unexpected water conditions occur.
- After refueling your boat, be sure all hatches are open and the blower is running to prevent fumes. Don’t start your engine if you do smell fumes.
- Do not anchor your boat to the stern. When anchoring your vessel, make sure the anchor line is properly secured to the bow.
- According to Wisconsin law, boat operators who are involved in boating incidents need to report the accidents straightaway to a law enforcement officer. A written report should be submitted within 10 days after the accident.
If you are the victim of a boating accident due to the negligence of someone else, don’t hesitate to call Harnitz Law Office. Our highly trained and experienced legal professionals can help you recover all financial losses, such as medical costs, wage losses, permanent injuries, hospitalization, emotional distress and other expenses.
In addition to personal injury services, our firm, based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, also specializes in real estate law, business transactions, collection and consumer law, civil litigation matters and other areas. Please contact us and let us explain how we can help you.